HENRY — The Larry Klein Memory Ride and Benefit for Living Works was held Aug. 24 at the River Valley Bowl in Henry.
On Oct. 7, Klein’s daughter, Tracy Wright, presented checks in the amount of $10,000 to the Living Works Board at its monthly meeting.
Larry was a life-long resident of Henry and a business owner for more than 40 years. He owned and operated Klein’s Standard Amoco for many years, until September 1991 when he purchased River Valley Bowl with his wife, Donna. After his death last year, his family knew they wanted to plan some sort of event in his memory.
“Several years ago, there was a large poker run that stopped at River Valley Bowl, and I can still remember my dad standing outside in awe of all the bikes. It was shortly afterward that he bought a Harley,” recalls Wright.
The family hadn’t discussed much about an event until Wright participated in the Living Works Suicide Walk in June. Then the pieces really came together.
“It seemed so fitting to have a ride in my dad’s memory that could benefit others. My dad had a huge heart and always helped anyone who needed it,” Wright said. “Our family lived through a nightmare this past year, and if we could carry on his tradition of helping others, this would be it.”
With her mom’s blessing, Wright contacted Chris Compton with Living Works, and the rest — as they say — is history. From there, the entire family got involved. A Facebook event page drew nearly 100 responses in the first 24 hours. Many friends and family members came forward to help — from gathering donations, volunteering to assist at the event, or writing personal checks to Living Works.
Once all the bills were paid and the money was counted, the total neared $10,000.
Wright said, “My mom will probably cringe that I’m sharing this, but she chipped in the difference, so we could meet our goal. Her heart is as big as my dad’s was, maybe bigger. She donated her time (and much more) and hung in there with us even when we could really tell Dad was on her mind, and we weren’t sure we should have planned the benefit. She’s been amazing. I’m not sure where any of us would be without her.”
The dust has barely settled from this event, and people are inquiring about the plans for 2014.
“With the success we saw this year, I’m sure we will do it again. Now we’ll have to plan something bigger and better,” Wright said.
The Klein family has a community page on Facebook titled, “Larry Klein Memory Ride and Benefit for Living Works” where they have posted a list of all donors from this year’s benefit. Information about an August 2014 event will be posted as it becomes available.